Vision Fund Zambia Limited is currently piloting a mobile money payment system for paying out loans to beneficiaries using Airtel Money.
RUFEP is working with Vision Fund Zambia Limited through the Innovation and Outreach Facility’s agency and mobile banking window to facilitate easy access to financial services using mobile phone payment system.
Loan applicants to Vision Fund Zambia are advised form groups of at least 5 members to reduce the risk of defaulting.
Chisomo, Lutanga and Alinafe are some of the first groups based in Chongwe to receive a loan disbursement from Vision Fund Zambia through the mobile payment system. Chisomo Group Representative Pride Muntemba said the system has reduced paper work and lead time for loan processing and repayment.
With the mobile phone payment system group members can now pay back their loans on a monthly basis using airtel mobile money. The benefit is that this will cut on travelling costs for rural people who used to travel distances to make payments at the Vision Fund Zambia Branch in Chongwe.
Alinafe Group Member Matimba Mangalisa, a smallholder farmer based in Chongwe rural’s Kanakantapa area said with the mobile payment system, loan repayments can now be made using Airtel money instead of travelling to Chongwe.
However, one of the challenges identified by all groups was that Airtel money agents did not have enough money or liquidity to cash out the loans with huge amounts.
Bridget Chingelesu, a member of the Lutangu group based in Chongwe said most agents operating airtel money booths do not have enough cash to cash out huge amounts.
“Though we managed to cash out our group loan on the same day, we had to move from one booth to another to convert our airtel money into cash” she narrated.
In June 2017, Vision Fund Zambia signed a grant agreement with RUFEP under the IOF’s agency and Mobile banking window to upgrade infrastructure and software for the mobile payment system in order to increase access to financial services targeting 40,000 beneficiaries including smallholder farmers.
RUFEP and Vision Fund Zambia staff went on a field visit on the 5th April, 2018 to assess how the pilot of the mobile payment system was progressing in Chongwe.